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Off lead walking

(20 Posts)
Juanbablo Thu 30-Jan-20 06:06:16


Our puppy is 13 weeks now and I was wondering when I should start letting him off the lead on walks? I'm terrified of this to be honest in case he runs away and doesn't come back. We practice re call at home but when we are out he seems so engrossed in sniffing and looking at everything he forgets how to listen.

OP’s posts: |
Appymummy Thu 30-Jan-20 06:11:54

Can you go to any dog training classes to learn and practice recall?
Also there are places that rent secure fields to exercise your dogs it might be worth looking into that.

The other option is using a long line (but not the retractable leads) to start with to give some freedom but not completely off lead.

Good luck and enjoy!

Mrsducky88 Thu 30-Jan-20 06:19:13

Do it as soon as possible, the younger the better (before they can outrun you or get to over confident teenage stage). Practice lots of recall in the garden and off lead walking to heal then take high reward treats and toys out with you. Ideally have 2 people when you first start off lead as 2 people is more exciting.

Importantly remain calm, don’t panic when letting them off, they will sense it in your voice. Use a recall command- ie don’t just be shouting their name. Lost of practice- off lead, recall, back on lead, then off lead again so coming back doesn’t always mean the end of the walk.

LolaSmiles Thu 30-Jan-20 06:19:15

What's his recall like at home? Try to have that reasonably consistent, including when there's distractions. We would randomly call puppy to us when they were in the middle of playing in another room to keep them on their toes and gave lots of treats.

When you're ready to go offline out and about I would go long line in a safe place such as a park that is known for being off lead friendly. Other owners with off lead dogs will be supportive and sympathetic whilst you're training in my experience.

GrumpyMiddleAgedWoman Thu 30-Jan-20 08:11:55

At that age he won't want to lose you. Habituate him in the house to coming to a recall and reward as soon as possible if you haven't already and then take him out somewhere - park, field. Recall randomly and for rewards - don't let him associate recalling with being taken home, though it's a good idea to put the lead on sometimes and walk a few steps before letting him off again. That way he won't think recall + lead = end of fun. At the end of the walk, recall, lead, lots of praise... And rinse and repeat the whole process every day for months.

TerpsichoreanMuse Thu 30-Jan-20 08:46:49

I was told to never let them make a mistake (not come) as then they grow up knowing that's possible. So start training on a long line, and if the puppy doesn't come, gently tug until il does.

Get the pup perfect on the line before trying without.

Also, as others have said, at that they'll want to be with you so it should be easy. Adolescence is another matter, so you want your recall perfect before then, and then maybe reinforce it a little.

I'd also recommend training to a whistle, saves your voice and can be heard much further away.

I did this and my dog has excellent recall though I saw so myself. Still jumps on every visitor though.

stophuggingme Thu 30-Jan-20 09:01:51

My dog has been off the lead since she was about 16 weeks old. Admittedly it was in a huge entirely fenced exercise field behind my house so I was lucky.
I did take her to some puppy training classes too which helped a bit with getting used m to being around but not distracted by other dogs.
A clicker round the house and have a teeny treat ready is good too
I gradually rescued the treat (tiny pieces of chicken) until it was gone. She was fine with it

She’s now almost eight and still has about half every walk off a lead plus at least two big walks a week with no road once we are safe to do so and she’s generally really good

BiteyShark Thu 30-Jan-20 09:08:05

Mine was trained to come back with a whistle as a puppy practicing in the house and garden.

We were encouraged by a trainer to let him off outside before he hit adolescence when they want their independence and won't listen. He did stick to us like glue and he did come back every time to the whistle because we had practiced that at home. I wish I had let him off sooner than we did.

When they hit their teens they tend to 'lose' recall so it's important that you get it nailed before that happens as it helps during that time when they do know what to do but ignore you.

adaline Thu 30-Jan-20 14:11:00

Ours went offlead from the very first time he was allowed out. He was about 12/13 weeks old.

He was perfect until he hit adolescence, but he's two now and he's pretty much back to normal. I do have to be careful as he has a habit of chasing deer/rabbits but generally we go to the beach or an enclosed field and he's fantastic.

Nojeansplease Thu 30-Jan-20 14:37:29

Ours has been off since 13 weeks, in safe places but never near roads

We started at about 12 weeks with extending lead and calling back - practice recall outside the house constantly
Then a long lead
Then we took him the beach/big parks practiced some recall in the new location
And then he can go free in any big spaces
If we are near lots of people or roads we still put him on a lead - more so because I don’t want to take a step back with the training and give him a chance to ignore me / jump up at people And we are entering adolescence early it seems and I don’t want to risk a selectively deaf dog!

Bigmango Thu 30-Jan-20 20:50:42

Total Recall is a really good book for teaching recall. We are doing it a bit late and wish that I’d done it when our dog was younger as the puppy method looks super easy.

Funf Fri 31-Jan-20 16:43:54

What sort of dog is it? If its Terrier / hunting related the recall can be difficult. We used a very long lead first and are very choosey where we let her off

Juanbablo Sat 01-Feb-20 11:07:53

He's a Jack Russell so I believe they can be tricky to teach recall. At home his recall is usually very good, responds to "here" and comes running. We've been playing the game taught by our trainer where he runs between two people. But when he's in the garden and doesn't want to come in he won't respond at all, you know that mood they get into sometimes?! Usually during witching hour. He's 13 weeks and has been out walking for a few weeks. He walks well for me but pretty much refuses to walk for my husband. I think we might try letting him off the lead tomorrow and see how it goes. Thank you for the advice everyone.

OP’s posts: |
GrumpyMiddleAgedWoman Sat 01-Feb-20 13:26:36

If he's a 'proper' JRT, he will have prey drive and will want to chase squirrels and rabbits. You will have to work hard on recall as he gets older to keep that in check. Make recall as much fun as you can - that will help you.

TopBitchoftheWitches Sat 01-Feb-20 13:47:26

Not yet, your pup doesn't have recall. Plus too much exercise early on is bad for them.

jumper1234 Sat 01-Feb-20 13:49:45

My dogs recall with his name or command was quite poor but I incorporated a whistle so now I shout his name and blow the whistle and he comes back every time!

Helenluvsrob Sun 02-Feb-20 00:05:06

Long line that trails behind and you stamp on if you need to stop him. Very helpful if recall not certain. NB learn from my mistake. Get a plastic one - ours is woven and when muddy , well there isn’t a chance that small pup will run off as it’s like a ball and chain 😂

No one has mentioned treats - use very smelly high value ones - chicken , hot dog sausage , cheese etc. Carry several different ones in case gets bored. Some dogs will recall for a toy too. As ever with treats tiny ones often - we hold a cube of chicken ( about an inch cube ) and pick little nibbles off with our nails. Works well - and if there’s is ever a big problem you can wave / give the whole thing - or alternatively chuck it for a troublesome dog to maybe go for instead of your pup.

We have small Tupperware things to keep the treats in to minimise pocket raids by big dogs 😂

Whoops75 Sun 02-Feb-20 00:14:55

I have a jack russell and never let her off the lead. I have heard a few stories of them going into burrows and not coming back.
I think for a small dog a long lead is enough, we have a good sized enclosed garden too.

Juanbablo Sun 02-Feb-20 05:26:18

I know that there are a few dog secure fields near here that can be rented so I think I will do that with some other dogs he knows so we can practice. If they come back he will come back so I think that's going to be my first try. I've also heard horror stories of terriers disappearing down burrows and taking off after rabbits.

OP’s posts: |
adaline Sun 02-Feb-20 09:35:56

Not yet, your pup doesn't have recall. Plus too much exercise early on is bad for them.

The best time to let your pup off-lead is as young as possible. They're inclined to stay close to you and will be easily distracted by yummy treats.

The exercise rule is also about on-lead exercise only. Nothing wrong with letting a puppy trot along off-lead next to you for a while.

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